Dr. Strangelove, Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Bombs

I needed to stuff my deck as full of gamebreaking cards as I possibly could. My deck needed to be a bomb-playing machine. And why shouldn’t yours?

Stay on the bomb run, Ace. — Slim Pickins as Major Kong

The second IBC qualifier I attended, I played a W/G deck that had lots of cool tricks and metagame tuning. It used the awesome Fleetfoot Panther for combat tricks, as well as a way to make sure your maindeck Pure Reflections always worked in your favor. The deck designer solidly built it, and I liked the ideas behind it. I also liked the fact that at two colors, I was bound to win games where my mana consistency trumped my opponent’s mana screw. Right?

Can you guess how that story ended?

Mr. President, about thirty-five minutes ago, General Jack Ripper issued an order to the thirty-four B-52’s of his wing which were airborne at the time as part of a special exercise we were holding called Operation Dropkick. The planes are fully armed with nuclear weapons with an average load of 40 megatons each. — General Turgidson

In short, I got dropkicked by Bomb after Bomb after Bomb. My opponents weren’t necessarily better than me — heck, I dropped fifty DCI points in the two matches I lost — but their decks were three colors and stuffed with the Bombs of the format. Spiritmonger. Mystic Snake. Fact or Fiction. Prophetic Bolt. Urza’s Rage. I worked my butt off to try and pull out the matches, but it was an uphill struggle. They made bad plays; they didn’t know what some of my cool cards did. It didn’t matter. I felt like the Polish Cavalry riding their horses against Nazi Panzers. I was outclassed.

Mr. President, the technology required is easily within the means of even the smallest nuclear power. It requires only the will to do so. — Dr. Strangelove

The thing is, I could have maybe pulled out a couple of these games… If the cards had pulled differently, if they’d gotten mana screwed. But ultimately, I would not have won the PTQ. Why? Because I had hobbled myself by not playing the best cards I could possibly play. My early opponents were eliminated soon after the thrashing they gave me. They were average players, playing with the bomb cards they needed to give them a shot. Eventually, they lost to better players playing with their own bomb-laden decks.

Now let’s get this thing on the hump. We got some flying to do. — Major Kong

So obviously I learned my lesson, right? I got on the hump and built a bomb deck for the next PTQ, right? Well… Sorry, folks, but sometimes I’m stubborn. When I came across the revelation that IBC was all about three-color bomb decks, I was determined to find a way around it. I ended up building a three-color deck, but ignored the obvious bombs that people would expect me to include. I was looking for another bomb, something unexpected. I built an IBC Twilight’s Call deck and took it to the PTQ. And while I did better than the previous PTQ, going 2-2 is still not cutting the mustard.

I finally learned my lesson; if I wanted to draw good, game-breaking, bomb cards when I needed them, I needed to stuff my deck as full of them as I possibly could. My deck needed to be a bomb-playing machine.

DeSadeski: The doomsday machine.

President Muffley: The doomsday machine? What is that?

DeSadeski: A device which will destroy all human and animal life on earth.

Flash forward to the weeks before the States Championships. States has become a very important tournament for me. Winning Virginia in 1999 was an exhilarating experience, giving me some hope of climbing out of perpetual scrub-dom. Coming in fourth place in 2000 was a very respectable follow-up.

But now I’ve set a trend. States is My Tournament. It’s where I do well. When I walk into the tournament Sunday, I’m going to be besieged by folks wanting to know if I’m going to make another run at winning it again. Expectations are going to be high, both from others and myself; I don’t want to fall flat on my face. So I need to give myself the best shot at drawing the cards I need to win. I need to load my deck up with maximum bomb density. My deck needs to perform like the raids we’ve launched on the Taliban.* Massive, overwhelming, superior force.

If we were to immediately launch an all-out and coordinated attack on all their airfields and missile bases we’d stand a damn good chance of catching ’em with their pants down. Hell, we got a five-to-one missile superiority as it is. We could easily assign three missiles to every target, and still have a very effective reserve force for any other contingency. — General Turgidson

It’s obvious to me that the best way to do this is to go three colors. Seriously, can you give me a good reason not to play three colors? Sorry; mana consistency is not a good reason. Type 2 today is chock full of mana fixers that will let you play any color combination reliably. Heck, Jon Chabot has been having success with a 4-color build that doesn’t even use green!

Plan on playing R/G beats like reverends Zvi and Burn have been preaching? Why not splash black for Spiritmonger and Void? Playing U/G Opposition? Why not splash red for Flametongue and Fire/Ice? Playing W/R? Why not splash blue for Lightning Angel and Fire/Ice, or even Prophetic Bolt? Give me a good reason, I dare you. Scared of the painlands? Don’t be scared; with your deck spitting out Bomb Card after Bomb Card, the damage you’re inflicting on your opponent is going to be more than the pain you’re inflicting on yourself. Give yourself the tools you need to overwhelm your opponent and win.

Survival Kit contents check. In them you will find: One .45 caliber automatic, two boxes of ammunition, four days concentrated emergency rations, one drug issue containing antibiotics, morphine, vitamin pills, pep pills, sleeping pills, tranquilizer pills, one miniature combination Rooshan phrase book and Bible, one hundred dollars in rubles, one hundred dollars in gold, nine packs of chewing gum, one issue of prophylactics, three lipsticks, three pair of nylon stockings — shoot, a fellah could have a pretty good weekend in Vegas with all that stuff. — Major Kong

So what am I playing? I’m still not entirely sure. You can bet it’ll have green in it. Odyssey has give green some great card advantage spells I just can’t resist. As for the other two colors? I’ve got a couple of ideas I’ve been working on, and with Virginia States falling on a Sunday, I’ve got a Friday Night Magic T2 tournament and a Saturday”11th Hour” T2 tournament to try ’em out. Then I’m going to try and gather up what information I can from those who participate in States on Saturday, make a few last minute tweaks and then send my bomber to the fray. With any luck I’ll have made the right decisions, get a few lucky breaks, and will be celebrating come Sunday. Stuff your deck with bombs and maybe you will, too!

Aaaaaa hoooo! Waaaaa hooooo! — Major Kong, riding the bomb in its falling arc, waving his hat over his head, celebrating his success in ecstatic rodeo style.

Good luck, everyone!

* – As much as I hate footnotes, I just had to add that, as I was spellchecking this, Word recommended I replace the unknown word”Taliban” with”tailbone.” Which I found funny. Heh.